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1/30: Cool on two wheels

This picture of an attractive Dane on a bike was posted on BikePortland the other day.

I have since decided that I will signal no other way than the cool way that Mr Copenhagen there signals. (How else could you signal, you wonder? Well, I'm typically more emphatic and full-armed about it because Portland, though bike-aware, does not have Copenhagen-levels of bike-awareness. But screw that. I'm going to be cool Danish-signaling gal from here on.)

The extraordinary editor of BikePortland, Jonathan Maus, is currently posting dispatches from the two great world bike capitals, Copenhagen and Amsterdam. He has mentioned the amazing bike-riding skills of the citizens, and since we're not talking Tour de France racing, I'm assuming he means stuff like riding steadily in slow and crowded conditions, navigating safely around pedestrians, riding handlebar-to-handlebar with your friends while conducting a conversation, gauging traffic, or riding with two kids, a cigarette, a cellphone and no helmet.

No, I'm not being facetious about that last item. Americans think of cycling as a competitive sport requiring speed, power and endurance. (My daily commute is often made uncomfortable and even dangerous by cyclists of that sort.) We don't seem to place much emphasis on casual ease. And let's face it, casual ease requires skill.

I shall henceforth be all about the casual ease. (I'll probably keep the helmet, though.)

Crossposted to [community profile] bicycles

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 1st, 2013 06:28 am (UTC)
I don't cycle at the moment, but I have to admit that my signalling was more like the Dane's than the way I learnt as a child - a full-armed manoeuvre that would take out any passing faster cyclist!

Cyclists in England don't seem to signal at all, any more. But I rarely see slow and steady cyclists, either - even those not wearing lycra seem hell-bent on speed to the extent that they have decided that traffic lights don't apply to them. Talking of lycra, you might like this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-22639683
Jun. 1st, 2013 06:41 am (UTC)
That's wonderful! I mean, the cyclist's attitude is. The incident itself reads like a satire.

I keep an eye on the UK cycling scene via the I Bike London blog (obviously mostly London, but he covers this type of story too), and I notice that a lot of comments on UK news articles about cycling sound like those on American ones: the ever-boring "cyclists are all scofflaws who don't pay road tax" blah-blah. So it's not really surprising that the actual cycling climate is similar too, with the racing/sport mentality.

On my last trip to your country I thought about hiring a bike, but I chickened out. Even in a small town I realized I'd have felt useless and out of control in an unfamiliar and left-side traffic environment. There was no possible way I'd try a Boris bike in London. It looked like suicide to me! But I saw loads of people doing it.
Jun. 1st, 2013 07:02 am (UTC)
Cycling in London is different to the rest of the country, I think, partly because of the couriers who race about! But I spend as little time in London as possible now. I suspect that riding a Boris bike may be the safest way to do it - drivers tend to appreciate that they are tourists, and give them a wider berth. You definitely need your wits about you to cycle there, though - the cycle lanes don't go everywhere.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )



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